Frankly, I don’t appreciate being called a white motherf**ker, by Buddy Mikaere and Hone Harawira. Before you start, that’s not to deny that Pakeha stole vast amounts of Maori resources despite the treaty signed between the Crown and iwi, and in spite of the Crown’s own laws. The thief – the Crown – and the victims – the iwi – still exist. Compensation for those thefts is due and it is right.
But none of that justifies calling my whole ethnic group motherf**kers, which is what Harawira did. Especially as he was saying that as part of trying to excuse his rorting of his MP’s privileges. It is not “puritanical bullsh*t” to demand that people placed in a position of trust obey the rules when they’re spending our money.
The really dumb thing is that Harawira was under no obligation to stay at the conference. He’s an MP, not an employee. He didn’t need to lie that he was sick, he didn’t need to bring out all the unjustified rage to try to distract from the issue. He should have just told the truth at the start – that he was off for a day’s holiday with his wife and paid Parliamentary Services back.
Turning to the “if I should be suspended for swearing, Goff and his mates should be lined up against a wall and shot” comment, don’t give me that ‘he said “if”‘ crap. The meaning of our words goes beyond the strict semantic construction of our sentences. And Harawira is not some babe in the woods. He is a politician from a political family from a culture steeped in oral tradition. He knew exactly how the public would understand his words. Willie Jackson knew it too, that’s why he tried to stop him. Harawira’s chilling “beware, mate” at the end should put that beyond doubt.
Even if Harawira was right – that Pakeha are “white motherf**kers”, that Parliament’s spending rules are “puritanical bullsh*t”, and “Goff… should… be shot” (and he’s not) you can’t, in politics, ignore the reality of how others react. Ngapuhi gets it. They recognise that Harawira has resurrected the idea of a self-centred Maori who ignores the rules and hates Pakeha. They recognise the damage that Harawira’s comments have inevitably done to race relations in this country. They do not want their interests and the progress they’ve been making damaged by Harawira’s taint, which is why they’ve been so quick to disassociate themselves from him and have publicly condemned him.
It’s a terrible shame that Harawira has done this. And I can’t work out why. He knew what he was doing and what he was saying. And he has forced everyone to turn their backs on him. The Maori Party has no real choice but to kick him out, and Key can’t possibly countenance having Harawira vote confidence and supply for his government.
He should become an independent and work to rebuild people’s trust and his reputation. It’ll take some doing. Unfortunately, he’s rejected that idea, burning more bridges in the process. It’s a shame to see him waste his career like this but it’s bloody hard to have any sympathy for him.